My Ph.D. convocation!

It’s been almost exactly 9 months since I defended my Ph.D. thesis, and today I finally got to wear the official Western University robes during my convocation. It was great to share the day with my fellow biology graduate students, and celebrates with friends and family!

Convocation
Post-convocation pic of the Sinclair lab graduates. From left to right: Susan Anthony (PhD, with her newborn Finnegan), John Ciancio (MSc), Brent Sinclair (fearless leader), and Jantina Toxopeus (PhD).

Canadian Society of Zoologists Annual Meeting 2019

This week I’ll be presenting some of my recent postdoctoral work on Rhagoletis pomonella cold tolerance at the Canadian Society of Zoologists Annual Meeting in Windsor ON. Travel to this conference is possible thanks to winning a CSZ postdoc travel award, generously funded by the Integrative Ecology and Evolution section of the society.

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Title slide for my presentation

New publication: Transcriptomics of freeze tolerance

And now some good news to start the new year: the second data chapter from my Ph.D. thesis is now published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D! In this article, we compared gene expression of crickets that survive freezing (freeze tolerant) and crickets that don’t (freeze intolerant) to better understand how insects survive internal ice formation. Freeze-tolerant crickets modify expression of all sorts of genes that likely help protect cells at low temperatures, and you can read all about it here (or contact me for  copy).

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract of the article, illustrating how changes in gene expression may support processes that facilitate freeze tolerance

New publication: How crickets become freeze-tolerant

A bit of good news to end the year – the first data chapter from my Ph.D. thesis has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Insect Physiology! In this manuscript, we describe how the spring field cricket becomes freeze-tolerant when kept under ‘autumn-like’ conditions (i.e. decreasing temperature and day length) for six weeks. This is one of very few freeze-tolerant insects than can be grown in the lab, and allows us to do all sorts of neat laboratory experiments to better understand how some insects survive freezing. You can read more about what we found here (or contact me for a copy).

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract for this article, illustrating the conditions that induce freeze tolerance, and how crickets change their physiology when acclimated to those conditions

My first invited conference talk, at the Joint Annual Meeting of Entomologists

This week, I attended my first entomology conference – and quite a cool one at that! The entomological societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia collaborated to put together a stunning joint meeting in Vancouver, where insect biologists from around the world gathered to share their latest science. I was invited to talk about my Ph.D. research in a session on ‘Orthopteroids: Small Orders, Big Ideas.’ It was my first invited conference talk, and it was awesome to see so many other people getting excited about cricket freeze tolerance!

ESA cover page
Title slide for my presentation on how crickets survive freezing

The start of a postdoctoral adventure

Just 2 weeks post-Ph.D. defense, I set off in a UHaul truck to head to Denver, Colorado, where I’m joining the Ragland lab at University of Colorado Denver. I’ll be working on the overwintering biology and development of the apple maggot fly (Rhagoletis pomonella) and other insects for a couple of years. I’m excited to join the team!

RoadTrip
A map of my cross-country road trip to Denver. (Yes, there was that much construction – but it was a nice excuse to slow down and enjoy the scenery!)